The novel coronavirus outbreak in South Korea is “very grave”, President Moon Jae-in said Tuesday as he visited its epicentre and the country’s total number of cases approached 1,000.
The Korea Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (KCDC) confirmed 144 new infections, taking the tally to 977, the largest national total anywhere outside China, where the virus first emerged.
Scores of events have been cancelled or postponed as the outbreak has spread in the world’s 12th-largest economy, from K-pop concerts to the start of the K-league football season, with casualties on Tuesday including parliamentary sessions and the World Team Table Tennis championships.
More than 80 percent of the infections have been in South Korea’s fourth-largest city Daegu and neighbouring North Gyeongsang province.
“The situation is very grave,” President Moon Jae-in said on a visit to Daegu, wearing the uniform of a government emergency official and vowing full government support.